La Jetée, Chris Marker

This is a part of the movie “La Jetée”, directed by Chris Marker in 1962. It is a science fiction movie, but the amazing thing about it is that it is all made from still photographs. Knowing that it has been created in the 1960’s, it means that each photographs in this movie had to be printed and then filmed, which is quite a performance and must have been a very long process. Besides this, this film created a strange feeling in me. May be I am getting to used to modern and fast movies, but after a while staring at the screen, I had the illusion that the images began moving. Characters started blinking, moving their fingers… which is completely impossible of course. I smiled when I realised that when watching any movie, we are actually looking at plenty of pictures put together, also giving the illusion of moving, when they are technically not.

This movie inspired Terry Gilliam for his movie “Twelve Monkeys“, realised in 1996, which I love.

They both deal with madness and that’s why I feel inspired by them. Often, we hear of someone the word “mad” but it is actually very difficult to define this word in complete objectivity. These movies talk about these differences of point of view. Who’s mad ? Who’s not ? Could we actually say that people live in different realities instead of categorising them ? The fact of being “normal” is often defined by society more than by individuals, so who decides ? Are “mad people” victims of society ?

I definitely recommend these two movies. Sadly, once you have seen one, you will know the end of the other.

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Photo etching

Photo etching is also known as photogravure. It is an interesting process, invented in the early age of photography. It was very useful at that time, because it gave the possibility to reproduce an image more than once. Creating a negative, which takes the form of a metalic plate etched in acid, is long and fastidious, but once this is done, the printing process is fast. It was used a lot by artists  from the Pictorialist movement at the beginning of the 20th century. Later, this term is also used to describe some similar commercial printing processes.

Photo etching gives huge creative possibilities. The image can be printed on any kind of paper but also on fabric and other different services. It also allows to create effect when using the ink, or by the use of colour or by the way the ink is applied. Collages are possible as well, using a technique called Chine-collé.

These four images above and below are some prints I have done in May 2014, using photo etching.

Double exposures

These eight images are from a series called “double exposures” that I created between February and March 2014. They are analogue photographs, taken with a medium format  camera, and I printed them by myself in a darkroom.

I have always been fascinated by the work of Man Ray and his “rayograms“. He was experimenting a lot with processes and I think this is what photography is all about. I also love the Jerry Uelsmann’s work, who is a specialist in combination printing and multiple exposures.

Inspired by their work, I decided to create a series of eight images, which would be achieved by using different process of multiple exposures. I did a lot of experiments and really enjoyed spending time in a traditional darkroom. All the magic of photography reveals itself in that place. Seeing the image appearing on the paper when developing the photograph provokes a feeling that can only be experienced there. It is very exciting and intriguing.

I said “magic”, when it is actually very scientific and precise and it reminds me that people who invented and start experimenting with photography, as Fox Talbot among others, were originally scientists, but were also seen by the public as magicians. It is a bit how it feels when working in a darkroom. Photographers all know there is a scientific reason behind this process, but they are all still carried by this illusion of practicing an unbelievable magic trick.

Robots

 

I recently created a series of still lives representing robots. I love these objects, as any abandoned toys, and I collection them. They are colourful, funny looking and they bring back to life my inner child.

They also carry a kind of sadness due to the fact they have been a part of the childhood of someone and then have been threw away.

 

 

When photographing them one by one, I thought about the humanity’s general vision of the future. In movies for example, we always see the future as a mechanic world, controlled by machines. Robots of any kind are always present in these fantasies. And sometimes these dreams come true. We saw tactile screens and driverless cars in science fiction movies before they had been invented so we might be creating our own future with what we imagine and create. In a sense, the robots I photographed are someone else’s vision of the future. Their naivety makes me smile.

I decided to present them in a typology to reinforce their differences and similarities. It also shows the absurdity of some man-made objects.

Camera Obscura

I always had a conflicted relationship with my hometown. I grew up there and when I was around fifteen, I started being so fed up. I wanted to travel, I wanted adventures ! But I was stuck, and bored, in that city. As soon as I could leave, I did. I came to live in London at the age of 19. But after a year or so, I realised how badly I was missing my hometown and my family. Nowadays, I go back there almost every two months. I always look forward to it, and always feel sad and lost when I leave.

When I go back to my hometown, I often try to capture these strong feelings of attachments and loss with my camera. But for some reasons, my images are never strong enough visually. They seem to be interesting for me, but not for any other audience.

In april 2014, I went back in France to see my family for two weeks. I had the project to build a camera obscura in my bedroom. I had a completely different project in mind and was thinking to work on relationship between boys and girls during adolescence. I was inspired by the work of Abelardo Morell. He is a photographer famous for using this technique.

I built the camera obscura the first day I arrived. I was very excited about it because it was the first time I was using this process. When I finished, it was night time and the installation wasn’t working as it needs a lot of light. I went to bed.

When I woke up in the morning, something amazing happened. The camera obscura was working. I was thrilled. I could see the street outside of my house on the inside wall of my bedroom. I lied there for a while, enjoying the strange feeling of being inside a huge camera.

The same day, I started experimenting with my digital camera inside the camera obscura. I started taking self portraits and played with the projection on walls and objects.

After a few days working in my bedroom, I realised this process was perfect to express my feelings about my hometown. I forgot about my original project about relationship between boys and girls and started working on my own relationship with the place where I grew up. I worked on notions of absence, presence, loss, attachment and childhood.

Besides the fact that I am pleased with the images I created during these two weeks, I also lived one the most wonderful experience in my photographic life.

 

If you want to create your own camera obscura, here is a very helpful link.

Collages

 

 

I made this series of collages in March 2014. My idea came from a french expression : “being a vegetable”. It doesn’t express something funny but I always found the saying hilarious. I can’t help myself visualising someone becoming suddenly a potato. I decided to express this metaphor in photographic collages. Creating these images was quite a long process.

By working on these pictures, I also thought it could symbolize the way human beings tend to forget that nothing, including us, is forever because we are all made of organic matter. Besides being funny, this project also deals with ephemeral and death.

Hiding from the light.

In December 2013, I created a series of images on the theme of “hide and seek”. I love experimenting with lighting in my photography and I wanted to create a colourful and mysterious body of work. I was very inspired by Erwin Blumenfeld. He is a great fashion photographer. If you want to read more about him, click here.